People prefer to do business with people they like and who are knowledgeable about their business. The first step I take in any sales strategy is to find out who the potential customers are and establish a rapport with them.

Before my initial contact [with a business client], I familiarize myself with the firm’s product offerings. This makes me feel more comfortable prospecting for clients within the company. It also leads to greater confidence in cold-calling, elevator speeches, networking or other means of contact, all important initial steps in relationship building.

Identifying individual customers can be more difficult. Because many individual clients come from referrals from an agent’s circle of friends and associates, networking is essential. Consider joining community groups, business associations and chambers of commerce. And always remember that satisfied clients are apt to refer other customers.

Editor’s Note: The preceding tip was taken from “Finding Your Most Precious Misplaced Item: The Customer,” by Lance Osborne, an article that ran in the June 2006 issue of Life Insurance Selling. To read the full article, click here.

To read last week’s Tip of the Week, click here.

For more on researching prospects, see:

8 steps to being prepared for client appointments

8 rules for finding the demand for life insurance

Better Communications with Senior Market Prospects